Wednesday, 21 October 2015

National Adoption Week 2015: A Love Story!

This week is National Adoption Week #NAW15 and this year the focus is on looking for parents for the thousands of children over the age of 4 who are waiting to find a loving home and family.  Many adopters are anxious about adopting older children for a variety of reasons including fears of challenging behaviours and attachment.  In my own adoption community I know of several adopters of older children for whom adopting an older child or children has been an incredibly positive experience.  Like parenting any adopted child it's not a walk in the park but I don't necessarily feel they have had more issues than adopters I know who have adopted younger children.  In fact I think they have more of a heads up about what to expect.

With this topic in mind today I am handing the blog over to guest blogger Kathryn.  Kathryn and her husband, Martin adopted "James" when he was five and a half. Martin is in IT and Kathryn is a stay-at-home Mum. James is an aspiring footballer and mad about anything with wheels.  They live in Yorkshire with far too many animals and love being an adoptive family.  Here Kathryn shares their family story which I promise will put a smile on your face......

A Love Story.......


Ours is a love story really. When people ask me about adoption, that’s what I tell them.

It all began when we approached our adoption agency to explore becoming adoptive parents. I had feared that the process would be long-drawn out, intrusive and stressful, but instead we found it to be insightful and therapeutic. We received great training and support (and still do) and went to our adoption panel just before Christmas in 2013.

Because we wanted to adopt an older child and because we were open to parenting a boy with emotional and behavioural challenges, we didn’t have a long wait. We first saw our wonderful son’s smiling face on-line a month later and we became a family in the May.

In the months that we waited to meet him, put simply, we began to fall in love.

We were lucky to have more photos shared with us as well as a video and lots of detailed information passed on by his wonderful foster carers. When the day finally arrived to meet him for a brief after-school play, it felt more exciting and nerve-racking than any first date! But we were lucky in love and our son has always been generous in sharing his heart with us right from day one.

We are now 2 and a half years into being a family and for me and my husband it has been the most marvellous thing we could have done by far. We still spend far too much time gazing at him while he sleeps, spellbound and amazed that we get to be his parents!

Don’t misunderstand me there has been a fair share of tantrums, of sleepless nights, of tears shed and worries over school. And above and beyond this there are dark moments when I know that my love is simply not enough to heal his pain or to soothe his anxieties. That no matter how devoted my husband and I are to this amazing child, we have missed so many years with him that we can never get back. That every day there is living proof in how he behaves or interacts with others that he has been traumatised and is living in the wake of this.

But love is the glue. Even if it can’t glue everything back together, love is what binds the three of us. There are no ties of blood, no birth-right, but there is love. Right from the outset, we were determined that our son had a sense of permanence and acceptance. We wanted him to trust that we were a family forever and that no matter what we loved him. And as na├»ve as it sounds, we believe that he really did put his trust in love.


We are intensely proud of our little man and what he overcomes on a daily basis; he has worked as hard, as we have, at being a family. Adoption is a challenge every day. It is a markedly different way of being a family. But it is all the more special for it and every day we are thankful that we went looking for love and found it.


Would you like to be a guest blogger at Life with Katie? If you want to share your story then email me at threebecomefour@gmail.com

Gem xx

2 comments:

  1. What an inspiring story. I know from the experience of friends that love does not always conquer all and it's not all wonderful - there are harder days/weeks. I have nothing but awe for parents of children with emotional trauma who just keep on giving and loving. I wish you a great future with your son, full of love and success for all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you for your kind words - friends often said at the start that our child would be lucky to have us as parents - it certainly was an encouraging thing to say but ultimately we feel the lucky ones! I think the key to parenting a traumatised child is to go a lot with your instincts and then not be afraid to call in the professionals when things go beyond your expertise. And having a strong personal network around you is key too.

      Delete